How fast is too fast? Lexar's latest CFexpress cards are needlessly rapid

Lexar CFexpress cards CES 2024
(Image credit: Lexar)

Just when you thought the best CFexpress cards were plenty fast enough, we're now about to get cards around TWICE as fast as current offerings. We've already seen manufacturers such as ProGrade Digital release next-gen CFexpress 4.0 cards, boasting read speeds as high as 3400MB/s, but that already ludicrous speed will soon be beaten.

Lexar has just announced at this year's CES trade show that its upcoming Professional CFexpress 4.0 Type B Card DIAMOND Series cards will top out at a frankly unnecessary 3600MB/s read speed, and can achieve up to 3300MB/s write speed. This will make the new Lexar cards the fastest-writing Type B cards on the market, though they're narrowly beaten on read speed by the 3650MB/s Atlas Ultra CFexpress 4.0 Type B card from OWC.

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(Image credit: Lexar)

We call these speeds unnecessary because, as far as we're aware, no current consumer CFexpress camera is actually able to write images or video at anything like these speeds. Likewise, no memory card reader on the market can even get close to ingesting data at 3500+ MB/s.

Details about capacity options, pricing and availability of Lexar Professional CFexpress 4.0 Type B Card DIAMOND cards have yet to be revealed.

Arguably more interesting than Lexar's CFexpress Type B announcement is that the company is also launching a new line of Type A cards: the Lexar Professional CFexpress 4.0 Type A Card GOLD Series. What makes these cards special is they are the first Type A cards built to the CFexpress 4.0 specification, meaning they utilize PCIe Gen 4 technology.

(Image credit: Lexar)

The end result is these new cards perform at approximately double the speed of any Type A card that has come before. With maximum read/write speeds of 1800MB/s and 1650MB/s, respectively, Lexar's latest type A cards actually match the speed of the vast majority of Type B cards, and they easily trounce the previous Type A speed king: the 950MB/s Nextorage NX-A1PRO series. If you own a Sony camera like the a1, a7 IV and a7S III, then these new Lexar Type A cards are for you. Like their new Type B counterparts, Lexar hasn't released any info on pricing or retail availability.

(Image credit: Lexar)

At the same CES announcement Lexar revealed new additions to its portable SSD range. The toughened Armor 700 Portable SSD combines IP66 water and dust resistance with a rugged design capable of withstanding a 3-meter drop. It will be available in capacities ranging from 1TB to 4TB. The more mainstream SL500 portable SSD is clad in a sleek aluminium enclosure and is capable of up to 2000MB/s read and 1800MB/s write speeds.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.